Wednesday, June 30, 2010

IDF Footage under-reported in Flotilla coverage

Just Journalism

The UK liberal media under-reported Israeli video evidence depicting flotilla passengers violently attacking Israeli soldiers

London, 28 June 2010 - The Guardian and The Independent seriously under-reported and downplayed the Israel Defense Forces video footage that vividly depicted passengers on board the Mavi Marmara boat attacking Israeli commandos as they boarded the vessel last month in the Gaza flotilla incident. The report, published today by Just Journalism, entitled, 'Gaza flotilla raid: Media presentation of Israeli video evidence,' is a comprehensive review of coverage of the events in the five UK broadsheets - The Guardian, The Independent, The Times, The Daily Telegraph and Financial Times - in the week following the raid.

The study shows a stark contrast between the publications which awarded due prominence to the film and incorporated its contents into their overarching narrative of events, and those which excluded it and belittled its significance, often dismissing it as public relations material.

The findings raise serious questions about the willingness on the parts of The Guardian and The Independent to deal appropriately with evidence which supports Israel's side of a contested story. Given the high profile given by these same publications to stories involving serious allegations of wrongdoing by Israel, this is particularly noteworthy.

Executive Director of Just Journalism, Michael Weiss, said:

"The most show-stopping evidence to have emerged within hours of the deadly confrontation on board the Mavi Marmara was IDF video footage showing the passengers assaulting the Israeli commandos with crude but effective weapons. You'd think that such evidence would have been unignorable as forensic proof of what really happened on the night of May 31 but, as Just Journalism's report clearly shows, The Guardian and Independent did their utmost to prove that assumption wrong."

Key findings of the report:

· The Guardian and The Independent severely under-reported the IDF footage showing Israeli commandos coming under sustained attack from Mavi Marmara passengers

· The Guardian and The Independent presented Israel's key evidence as public relations material and refused to incorporate it into their broader narratives on the event

· The Times and The Daily Telegraph gave the footage due prominence from the outset of reporting and treated it as a natural counter-point to passengers' claims

· The Financial Times gave the footage due prominence but often treated it as public relations material

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